Weekend #1: Cape Coast, Ghana

What an eventful weekend this was for us! We depart from Accra early Friday morning and head to a gorgeous, scenic route, Cape Coast that is (like it says) on the Coast of Africa! There's the beautiful rainforest and trees that seem to be a hundred feet or more up in the sky.
Our first stop we come to is Cape Coast Slavery Castle. We all learned the history in grade school growing up, but actually touring around the castle being told what happened in what rooms and hearing how so many Africans suffered under the European rule before being put on a boat. The stories were so sad and inhumane.
Cape Coast Slave Castle
The scenery at Cape Coast was gorgeous, but I feel awful saying that now since we know all the details of what the slaves went through.

After the Castle stop, we arrive in the afternoon where we discover the area we are staying in until Monday morning. FIVE STAR BEACH RESORT!!! This was quite a treat for us! Of course, the beach is just beautiful and finally, we realize the fresh sea air! We were so thankful to not be breathing terrible car fumes in the city.

The view at the entrance to the resort we stayed while in Cape Coast
 We stayed in huts that sat on the sand that had two separate rooms per hut. My roommate, Alex, and I shared one bedroom and our joining room with Morgan and Katie. We had fun enjoying each other's company with our connecting door :) 

The hut Alex and I stayed in- next door to Katie and Morgans
It took a bit of time for everyone's bags to be unloaded, but we couldn't wait to feel the sand and ocean water between our toes, so we headed straight to the water once we exited the tro-tro. I'd have to say, the water felt so nice and the beach was clean, for the most part.

After a long day, we called it a night pretty early in midst to wake up bright and early for our CANOPY WALK! The next morning, we woke up, had breakfast at the little open restaurant that faced the beach then headed to the Kakum National Park. This is where we discovered the many lizards around! They were everywhere!
This lizard, in person, was HUGE!!!
 We went on about a 45 minute hike up a mountain and learned about the rainforest from our guided tour, then soon enough we were about to walk across a skinny, wooden platform suspended by thick ropes. (If you know me, you would know that I was pretty nervous about doing this since I'm very scared of heights. Nothing was going to stop me. 

Entrance to the Canopy Walk
I took a deep breath, never really looked down, and kept walking.) This was an incredible experience! We were above most of the trees in the rainforest and could see for miles. The boards of the canopy were pretty shaky and made freightening noises, but we made it! There were station type areas that were boards connected around the big trees, which linked each canopy walk, so we were able to take more pictures at each of the nine stations.

Don't look down!...Oops! I did...
After the walk, we traveled to the Elmina Slave Castle. Actually, we were going to take another guided tour of the castle, but our professor, Dr. Bass, knew it would pretty much be the same thing that we heard the previous day. We decided to hike up to the fort near by that sat on a very large, steep hill. The scenery was phenominal! While we walked up the cemented road to the fort, there was a big group of little kids, about 3 or 4 years old, who started calling us a name (The language, I don't think, was Twi...Maybe Ga?) but we had a feeling they were saying something that meant white skin. We kept walking, but noticed they kept following and soon enough latched on to all of our hands. 

Cara, Alex and Katie
We couldn't really communicate with them other than exchange our smiles and laughs, but they were so adorable! On our way back down, after looking around the fort, we came across the kiddos again and we repeated the same smiles and holding hands. While we were in the fort, someone in the area had huge speakers that filled the boat village with music. 

Elmina Slave Castle taken from the fort
The kids stopped us, grabbed both of our hands and started dancing :) This, for sure, brought a smiles and laughs to everyone. We said our good-byes and back to the beach resort we went for a relaxing evening. Yes, we did have class once we returned, but we didn't forget we were still on the beach :) ---That's right...swim suit on, toes in the sand... Class on the beach!!

Dr. Bass lecturing on Ama
In departure for Kumasi, we made a stop at the "Last Bathe." This was where the thousands of slaves walked miles upon miles in chain links and weighted balls to a river where they would, literally, take their last bath before going to the slave castles where they would tortured in dungeons and shipped off to be sold as slaves. 
We walked through the memorial and the worn path down to the the stream of water. Half way through the path, our excellent tour guide told us to line up directly behind one another, hold on to the individual's shoulders in front of you and close your eyes. (Our shoes & socks were off already so we would have more of an experience with this tour)He made us repeat different phrases while we were blindly walking, which was interesting. We reached the flowing stream that was surrounded by overhanging trees where we went and washed our "dirty" feet off. The water felt refreshing, but no one really said too much. It was a pretty peaceful and historic location.
walking down to the stream
After the tour, we walked back to our shoes and on to the tro-tro deluxe where we left en route to Kumasi, Ghana. For the next two weeks, we would be experiencing Africa a little differently in homestays...The real African life.



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